Obituary: James Boyce

James Boyce, politician: born Paisley 6 September 1947; Member (Labour) Sheffield City Council 1984-92; MP (Labour) for Rotherham 1992-94; twice married (two sons); died Rotherham 25 January 1994.

THE SAD and sudden death of James Boyce has deprived Parliament of one of its most colourful and humorous characters. Honest and outspoken, he was liked by those who had met him and loved by those who knew him.

Jimmy Boyce was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1947. His early years, many of which were spent working in a foundry, helped very much to shape his commitment to socialism. He was not a revolutionary but proud to be a rebel. His cause was to make life better for people: he despised unemployment, poverty and those who caused it. As a trade unionist in the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) and as a Sheffield City Councillor he worked tirelessly for his people and against 'the nightmare of Thatcherism'.

Never one to rest on his laurels, he used all his skills from his studies for his Industrial and Trade Union diploma as a means of pushing forward for progress on the things he believed in.

It was a very proud moment for him when he was elected MP for Rotherham at the last election and an honour to serve his people at a national level. He was a determined working-class politician and warmed to the banter of the chamber and he was at home giving the Government a hard time from the Labour benches. Every time the Prime Minister got to his feet Boyce would shout, just at the right moment, 'Resign'; and he meant it.

He lived and breathed his socialism in earnest and during the past few weeks of illness he missed his work very much. The politician was hard and unrelenting towards those who used others. The man was kind, warm and considerate, his repartee was instant and reflected his tough upbringing and early working life. He was a gregarious man, who loved life and liked nothing better than being surrounded by other people, and his presence will be missed by many of his colleagues at the House. A proud Scot, but an adopted Yorkshireman, he amused us all with his affectionate attempts at a Yorkshire accent.

Parliament was given a hint of what to expect from the man, when, after dealing with the Government's record on poverty, unemployment, privatisation and tax handouts to the rich, he wound up his maiden speech in May 1992 with 'I shall return to this subject at every opportunity, and every time that they fail to make life better for the people of Rotherham; I will accuse them and they will stand indicted.' And he did.

Jimmy Boyce's determined and conscientious approach to his work was very much shaped by the many trials of his past. He clearly had so much to offer as an MP and many will share a great feeling of regret that he should have been robbed of success so soon after he had obtained it, and without having the chance of fully realising what he wanted to achieve.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk